Political Action: Our Motivation
The climate crisis is not really about the climate or the weather at all, it is a human crisis. To solve it we need political solutions. At Scoop UK, we hope to inspire you to seek a better world for all.
I want to introduce you to Lula. Right now, Lula is 10 years old. She was born in Barking Riverside in 2010 to a family of five. She has always lived there. Unbeknownst to her however, the air she breathes is unclean. In fact, Lula may even lose 2 years of her life due to air pollution (London.Gov.UK Study). In 2025, when Lula is 15 years old, her house is hit by severe floods along the Thames and is no longer habitable. Even though her parents both work full-time, her family cannot afford to relocate and she moves in with some relatives. That year, she develops severe asthma. Undeterred, she is still hoping to pass her GCSEs in the summer.
Now meet Albert. He is 65 years old. A staunch environmentalist, Albert has always played his part in promoting sustainability. He comes from a generation where scarcity was the norm. He hates wasting food. He switches off the lights the minute he leaves a room. He washes his clothes by hand. What’s more, he encourages his 3 children and 6 grandchildren to be like-minded.
One sunny autumn morning Albert opens his local newspaper to an article about the climate-impact of meat and dairy. He nearly drops his bacon-packed fork in surprise. According to recent studies, meat and dairy accounts for 14.5 percent of the world's greenhouse gases each year. Albert never knew. He feels let-down.
The following month, Albert is diagnosed with Stage 3 prostate cancer. A keen athlete, Albert has never smoked and drinks little. His family has no genetic disposition to this type of cancer. It’s clear, his doctor says, that he’s been eating too much processed meat. It turns out processed meat, like smoking, is a Group 1 carcinogen.
Albert feels heartbroken because every morning since he could remember Albert has started his day with three strips of bacon, two sausages and two eggs. As Albert goes home that day he asks himself; why wasn't this information available to me before?
Lula and Albert do not exist. Their stories however do. I began with these stories instead of overloading you with statistics and facts about climate change because the climate crisis is not really about the climate or the weather at all, it is a human crisis.
Despite what it might seem, the climate crisis is not a disaster looming in the near future that we can either experience or dodge. It is a process of everyday environmental injustices that permeate all our lives locally and globally. It is the floods that devastate the crops and livelihoods of Bangladeshi farmers. It is the drought that is threatening the food security of millions in Southern Africa. It is the air pollution that kills an estimated 7 million people a year globally. We all have a story to tell. A story of struggles against a problem we did not ourselves create.
However, this is not the only story. And it is not the story I am telling... I am telling the story of the future we build together. The story of a world where we live in harmony with the world around us. The story of a world where Lulu breathes clean air into her lungs. It is the story of progress. It is a story yet unwritten, but one that we have the power to write. And if you look around, there are many of us who have already started.
The story of climate change isn’t just the story of destruction we cause. It is the story of the future we build together.
Two Fronts of Climate Action
To build this world, we must be empowered on two fronts. We must be empowered to develop a mindset whereby sustainability is part of the thought process in every decision we make; the food we eat, the way we travel, the clothes we wear, the consumer products we use, etc. I label this front - collective individual action - it is the foundation of Scoop as an idea.
In the remainder of this blog however, I want to focus on the second front: Political action. Government action shapes and moulds individual action. However, government action as a whole has thus far failed us. Governments across the world have spurred countless opportunities to act. In August 2018, a global youth movement rose against political climate inaction. It demanded change. Two years on, what can we do here in the UK?
We must demand political solutions. We need to push for specific policies. We have seen with Marcus Rashford's brave school meals petition against the Conservative Government in October 2020 that specific actions are much better at holding those in power to account.
Many of the policies we need are aimed at restoring power to all of us. For example, legislating companies that pollute our air to take responsibility for the carbon emissions they produce. Demanding freedom of information by mandating food to be labelled according to its carbon footprint and health risks. Increasing subsidies so that more people from all economic backgrounds can purchase electric vehicles. Pushing for an education syllabus that alongside addressing Britain's colonial history also focuses on climate change and its facts.
This is the beauty of climate action. Any fight for social justice, whether concerned with gender, race, or class, is part of the environmental justice movement. For climate change is a product of the structural machine that has similarly caused rising inequality for 70% of the world's population. The machine that prioritises short-term profit over long-term sustainability and sustenance. But enough is enough. It is time for change. Together, we can build a politics with sustainability at the heart of it; sustainability that is not just for the rich and well-off but sustainability that is for all.
The beauty of climate action - the pursuit of power for all.
- Scoop UK -
As students, we have a unique opportunity to enact change. On a national scale, if we, 2.38 million UK students, can galvanise our communities and get one million signatures on a petition specifically targeting a certain injustice, then we can check whoever is in power for inaction.
We must however be ready to engage with those who do not want change. The current system is beneficial for a small, powerful minority. They politicise climate change using rhetoric and political tactics to divide us and delay action. But climate change is not a political issue. It is a human issue with political players. We must rise above the political games; we must deconstruct political narratives and focus on action.
It is time we move from hoping for a magical climate change policy to come round and fix everything and instead take action ourselves. Let us dream of the world we want to live in, and then...
'...let us go out and get the progress we shout on the streets about and which is so key to our generation.'
- Scoop UK -
Here at Scoop UK, we hope to inspire you about the types of political initiatives we need to see in the UK and the wider world; about the types of challenges we face in reshaping our food systems, our transport systems and consumer chains; and about how we can shift our carbon-addicted economy to a green alternative.
To sign off, I would like to leave you with this quote:
‘The most important rule for an individual in this fight is to figure out how not to remain an individual. How to join a movement big enough to change the politics.’
- Bill McKibben -
Environmentalist and Author
Scoop Durham Co-Founder and Scoop UK President.
I appreciate you dedicating five minutes of your day to reading this. Disagree or have a different opinion? Please get in touch; I am always happy to discuss, debate and understand a different perspective to mine.
Louder Than The Storm is an environmental movement dedicated to positivity, hope and inspiration. Find out more on their website - https://www.louderthanthestorm.com/